July 12, 2012
Chicks and Cars
I wish I was the type of chick that knew about cars. I cannot change a tire, or my oil, and I describe things in my car as doohickeys and thingamajigs. The only thing I am able to do in terms of my car, besides drive it, is gas it up. By drive it of course I mean I am a New York City taxi drive and I mean business. I don’t like to drive and my goal is to get from point A to point B. I am aggressive on the road and have very little patience for people who cannot drive. I am woman, who drives like an Andretti, with no clue about anything technical.
My car was making funny noises and I needed to take it to the shop. When my son had his car accident I took the car to be repaired by a friend and colleague of the Englishman. It turned out to be someone I knew which was Jewish Geography at play. Gary the body shop guy got it looking like new, then sent me to Dwayne the mechanic to take care of the guts. I’m not the kind of girl that should ever deal with a mechanic because I will believe anything. Tell me something needs to be replaced and I will replace it.
My father was always mortified that I was so uneducated when it came to cars. He would call to remind me to get my oil changed and check my tires for air. He believed that I should never have less than half a tank of gas and insisted I always have $5.00 in my glove compartment. He would tell me never to use my horn because it might piss someone off and send them into a road rage frenzy of pulling out a gun to shoot me. He clearly watched too much television because he thought I was driving through a war zone when I hit the streets of Sherman Oaks.
I think about my dad everyday. I wonder what he would think about the things going on in my life. He would be thrilled that my son is driving, and would get a kick out of cruising around with him. My Englishman is a lot like my dad and last week he told me I should have my car inspected and make sure everything was good so I would not need to worry when my son drove it. As the Englishman spoke I could see his lips moving but I could hear my dad’s voice. I am thankful he looks out for me and I smiled because I know my dad had a hand in our meeting.
I took my car back to Dwayne at Walker’s Complete Car Care in Reseda. It’s a bit of a schlep from my house but I felt like he knew the car, knew my Englishman, and would not try to make a few bucks screwing over the chick who knows nothing about cars. I was there today and felt compelled to write about what happened. It was the best experience I have ever had in terms of getting repair work done. Not because they fixed everything, but because they understood their customer. They spoke to me like a car owner with concerns, not an idiot.
I spoke with a gentleman named John who was lovely, professional, and not at all condescending. I told him there was a doohickey rattling in the glove compartment, there was fluttering when I hit the gas peddle, the brakes were whining, and the car was a little fercockt. Clearly I was not speaking in technical terms, but he seemed to understand what I was saying. He did not laugh, did not mock me, did not even change his facial expression. He wrote it all down as if he not only knew exactly what I was talking about, but he had actually heard it before.
I was dying to look at his notes because I was curious to see if he wrote down the work doohickey, but instead I took a seat and watched Live with Kelly in the waiting room. After about 40 minutes John came back to tell me what was going on. He went through the noises I was hearing and told me what was happening. He spoke in simple terms that I could understand, without making me feel stupid or confused. To tell the truth I was confused. Not by what John was saying but rather because I actually understood what he was saying.
John explained not only what they did, but why the noises were happening. It was great. I asked John what I owed him and he said nothing. He let me know it was a series of minor adjustments and since I had already taken the car in for a bunch of work, he did not want to charge me anything additional. There was a quick second when I thought I might cry, that quickly passed and I thought I might hug him, but I recovered, thanked him for his help, and got in the car curious to see if all the things I was concerned with had actually been fixed.
My car is now perfect. There are no weird noises or any funky shaking. The car runs smoothly, quietly, and my mind is at ease that my son can take it out and be safe. While I like to think it will happen, I am never going to know how to change a tire or properly explain what is happening with my car, but I will never run out of gas and always have five bucks. Thanks to the boys at Walker’s for fixing my car, thanks to my Englishman for taking care of me, and thanks to my Dad for continuing to make his presence known. I love you Dad and I am keeping the faith.